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5 Home Cooked Vegetable Recipes to combat stress

I have several friends who suffer with different types of stress and anxiety, and I’m sure we all have stressful times in our lives, so knowing foods to eat which can help ease those feelings is a great idea.  Here is a guest post from Ryan Riviera to tell us more…

Home cooked meals are the best comfort food anyone can have. If you want to treat yourself to a superior but homey and healthy meal, here are some easy to prepare Home Cooked Vegetable Recipes which you may incorporate in your daily diet.

Gazpacho Soup (tomato vegetable soup)

Tomatoes contain potassium, lycopene, vitamins E and A.  It is also rich in vitamin C which, if taken in large doses can have a tranquilizing effect that help alleviate anxiety. Here is one special tomato vegetable soup:

Put 1 minced onion, 2 cups of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of minced green pepper, 1 tsp honey, 1 chopped cucumber, lemon and lime juice, 2 tsp vinegar, 1 tsp basil and dried tarragon, ground cumin, ¼ cup of chopped parsley, tobacco sauce, 2 tbsp olive oil and pepper in a food processor or blender. Combine it altogether well but see to it that you do not over process. Blend the finished mixture together with 4 cups of tomato juice in a bowl. Wrap it in a plastic and let it chill for 2 hrs.  It is nice to serve it together with bread.

Simple Hummus Recipe

Garbanzo beans are filled with vitamins A, C, E and K. It also contains vitamin B6 or also known as pyridoxine which has been proven to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. It is also loaded with minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and sodium. Calcium is another mineral that can be found in garbanzo beans which is known to be a natural tranquilizer. Here is your easy recipe for garbanzo beans:

Put 1 can of garbanzo beans, 4 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 tbsp tahini in a blender together. Let it blend until it is creamy. Put the finished mixture in a serving bowl. Pour some olive oil on it and serve it with fresh vegetables.

Sweet Potato Balls

Sweet potato ball is another nutritious recipe that kids will surely love. It contains minerals like potassium, copper and iron. Add to that the mineral magnesium which can help reduce tension in the nervous system.  Thus, sufficient intake of magnesium can help a person feel more relaxed.  It can help you become more focused and it will also help reduce your vulnerability to stress and anxiety. This sweet potato balls recipe is a healthy treat for your sweet tooth:

Cut 2 pounds of sweet potatoes into chunks. Let it boil until it becomes tender. Add 2 tbsp of butter, ¼ tsp of salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and 1 tbsp of brown sugar along with the boiled sweet potato and mash. Add 1 egg while mixing altogether. Let it chill until it is firm. Form the potatoes into a ball shape and place mini marshmallows on the insides. Roll in 1 cup of gingersnap crumbs. Bake it on a cookie sheet for up to 10-15 minutes.

Cauliflower Purée

Cauliflower is a good source for vitamins such as C, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, and K. Its vitamin B3 alone is very helpful in the production of serotonin which plays an important role in producing a more balanced and stable mind. It also contains carotenoids, phytonutrients, and manganese.

Boil 1 head of cauliflower in a saucepan until it is tender. Put the boiled cauliflower and cooking liquid in a blender. Blend it until it becomes smooth. Last, add 3 tbsp of sour cream and 1 tbsp butter. Let it blend for a short moment. Season it with pepper and salt.

Asparagus Recipe

Asparagus provides a good source of folate, fiber, vitamins A, B12, E, and K. It also contains vitamin C which not only helps in alleviating anxiety.  It also promotes proper functioning of the adrenal glands and improves brain chemistry. This simple asparagus recipe is so easy to prepare, go ahead have a try:

Boil water in a saucepan, add 1 bunch of asparagus and parboil it for just 2 minutes. Drain away the hot water. Mix the asparagus with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of grated lemon rind and 2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Eating delicious home cooked meals is like experiencing luxury at the comforts of our very own home.

About the Author:

Ryan Rivera used to suffer from anxiety attacks for seven years.  He now advocates healthy living as the best weapon against anxiety and depression.  You can read more of his articles at Calm Clinic

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Helping your children to eat better

So far my posts have been all about recipes (and mostly cakes … I can’t help it, they’re so yummy!), so I have taken the opportunity to share a brilliant guest post from Heather.  She has 8 tips to help your children eat better which sound really helpful, so I think they will be of use to other mums and dads too.

Why is it once our kids hit the 2’s they never want to eat the things you offer them? Sure as they get older their habits improve and they are willing to try more, but generally why does the sight of healthy, nutritious meals or even meat send them running?

It’s a strange phenomenon, but if you’ve got a picky eater in the family then you’ll be all too familiar withwhat I’m talking about.

Yet feeding your child well doesn’t have to feel impossible. Try any of the following tips and you’ll notice an improvement in their eating habits:

1.  Make the same for everyone – don’t get into the habit of making them something different. Instead try to offer them the same foods you’re eating – family style – so they can pick and choose what they want. You’ll soon notice that your child is mimicking what you eat.
2.  Introduce new foods slowly – whilst you want to broaden their tastes, too much too soon will make them rebel. Start subtly by adding it to a recipe and once they are familiar with it, give it to them on their own. Similarly don’t try to give them too many new foods at once. Allow them to get used to a taste, and then introduce another.
3.  Use a little hero worship – you’ll be surprised what they’ll eat if you tell them their favourite star or character eats them.
4.  Hold your tongue – hard I know, but don’t pressurise them to eat their fruit or vegetables as all this will do is make them have negative associations with the food.
5.  Take advantage of dips – if they won’t eat vegetables on their own, offer them a dip to dip it in to improve the flavour.
6.  Be creative – the more creative the meal, the more excited your kids will be to eat it. Giving healthy foods silly names as well, will make meal times more interesting.
7.  Don’t be afraid to give treats – less healthy food shouldn’t be treated like a forbidden food otherwise your kids will want them more. Instead make them a treat to be looked forward to.
8.  Be a role model – most of us are on a diet these days but this doesn’t always set good habits for our kids. Instead of following the latest fad, offer you and your whole family healthy balanced meals so you’re sending your kids the right message about food. 

Whether your child is refusing to eat meat or refuses to eat anything healthy, it is possible to broaden your kid’s taste buds and help them to take a better approach to food.

Simply give the above tips a try, and remember to be patient.

Thank you for reading, My name is Heather and I write about Food and Kids and how to bring the two together. I also look to make life easier by getting my meat from an online butcher and buying just about everything else online!

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Growing our own (so we can eat our own)

It was such a sunny day today that I couldn’t resist getting outside and planting vegetable seeds with my daughter.  

I wish I had the skill, time, inclination, space and weather to grow all the vegetables we eat ourselves, but I’ll just have to make do with growing a few of our favourites.  

I’ve still got courgette, tomato and lettuce seeds from a couple of years’ ago so we’ve started off with those to see if they germinate.  I also want to get basil, cucumber and pepper seeds to give them a go too.  I think we might be a bit late for potatoes – but I really love growing them as it’s so satisfying when you harvest them 🙂

We haven’t got a very large garden so I am planning on growing the veggies in pots rather than in the ground.  I’m hoping this might deter the slugs too!

So here is propagator number one ready to go into the cold frame.  

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I find it amazing that a tray of seeds in soil will (hopefully) turn into loads of tomato, courgette and lettuce plants!

As you can imagine, a 22 month old only has a short attention span so she soon got fed up and we played with boxes instead … can you spot her?!

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I’ll let you know how the vegetables (although I just realised that tomatoes are officially a fruit!) come along.

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‘5 a day’ burger

If your children (or grown ups!) are not keen on vegetables  – or even if they are – this is a winner of a recipe.

The burgers taste a little like falafels, which A and my husband love – so you could even adapt the recipe and make them in ball shapes as well as burger shapes.  A very versatile set of ingredients!

To me, when I see  the vegetables cooking in the pan (see pic below), I feel a bit sad that they’re going to be blended up and lose their vegetable-good-looks, but their delicious flavours are all still there, just mixed with other yummy ingredients.

This is based on a recipe from BBC Good Food website, here are the ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 leeks, sliced

200g mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tbsp cajun spices (or any spices you particularly like)

1 tbsp soy sauce

300g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

200g (about 4 slices) granary bread, torn into pieces

burger buns, lettuce, tomato and other burger favourites

 

Instructions:

1) Heat 1 tbsp oil in shallow saucepan/large frying pan on medium heat.

2) Tip in all vegetables, seasoning and soy sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 mins until soft.

3) Tip into food processor with the kidney beans and bread, season, and blend to a thick paste.

4) With wet hands (otherwise you get sooooo sticky!), mould the mixture into burgers approx. 1.5cm (half an inch) thick and 6cm (2 inches).  If  you’re not cooking them straight away or have too many (as I always do!), they will keep in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer stacked between greaseproof paper for 2 months.

5) To cook, heat oil in a frying pan and fry for 2-3 mins on each side until crispy.

The photo really doesn’t do them justice, but as I’m not a photographer for any well known burger selling establishments, I think I can get away with it.

I currently have a stack of these sitting in the freezer waiting for a day where I haven’t had time to prepare a meal from scratch, or just a lazy day!

They go well with potato wedges and taste great with some sweet chilli sauce on the burger.  This is one of the few meals A will eat every last morsel of and then try to finish off ours too if we’re not quick enough!

 

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Veggie Muffins – may help you see in the dark!

Well, I can’t guarantee that’s a proven fact, but I eat a lot of carrots and see well in the dark. More importantly, it’s what my Mum told me as a child and everyone knows mothers are always right.  Even more so now I am a mother myself!

Neither my husband nor daughter are keen on carrots but they love these carrot and raisin muffins.  It’s a recipe I’ve adapted over time and seems to work well every time.

1) Peel and grate 2 carrots (small/medium sized will do nicely)

2) Add to a bowl with 1 whisked egg and a handful of raisins

3) Add 2 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp oil

4) In another bowl mix 75g plain flour, 15g light brown sugar and 1tsp baking powder

5) Mix all ingredients together and bake in muffin cases for 15 minutes at 200°C

Et voila, lovely muffins!

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Adults and children seem to love them – my daughter refers to them as ‘cakes’ and they’re a great fail-safe if she doesn’t eat her dinner as I know they’re full of healthy goodness.

Make great party food of the healthier kind.

For parents who avoid giving their children sugar, you could probably leave it out and the raisins will give a fairly sweet flavour but it’s such a small amount of sugar I don’t think it’ll cause any teeth to fall out!

Alternative ingredient combinations worth trying are:

– courgette and carrot (1 of each)

– banana and raisin (1 v ripe mashed up banana)

– cheese and leek (handful of grated cheese and half a large leek) – these are particularly tasty!

Let me know if you try out the recipe and what your family thought of the muffins!?!

 

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